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Author Topic: Waterford Boat Bowl, 1969 - letter "S" etched on base  (Read 796 times)

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Offline WowIndescribable

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Waterford Boat Bowl, 1969 - letter "S" etched on base
« on: September 10, 2016, 03:04:26 PM »

I was given a gift last year from someone who used to manage castles here in Ireland.  It is a Waterford Boat Bowl.  He identified it as being from the late 1960s (and it has quite a bit of wear on the bottom, as if it has been moved a lot in its life).  It has no visible Waterford logo or name that I can see.  But what it does have is a prominent capital and bold letter "S" etched on the top of the base.  When I asked this person about it, here is what he said:

"The Bowl was Designed and hand made by the Master Himself, Miroslav Havel who started Waterford Crystal in 1949 after he was brought over from Chech. Special Pieces that he made i believe he Signed S. His Trade Mark. so i am told."

I have not been able to find any reference to such a is a truly gorgeous bowl and I have no reason to doubt what he says.  I've compared it to detailed photos of Waterford and every part seems the same to me.  It is also very heavy and very richly coloured/prism'd with light.

Can any of ye shed light on the possible "S" story - true or something else???  I've included a few photos so you can get an idea.

 - R

Offline Paul S.

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Re: Waterford Boat Bowl, 1969 - letter "S" etched on base
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2016, 08:27:47 AM »
Hi - welcome to the GMB.                   Like you, I've tried various sources and drawn a blank in finding any reference indicating this mark is related to Miroslav Havel, and I think you're going to need to contact one of the large Irish museums who hold collections of Waterford glass.
Waterford Crystal are no more, as you probably know, and even the visitor centre has ceased, I think.               I could be wrong, but I'm not aware that this question has surfaced previously on the GMB.

First thoughts are that, if your story is correct, then this large upper case S looks unusually obtrusive for an artist's mark or whatever  -  such things are more discreet and often placed on a less obvious area of the glass.             It might also be thought that Waterford would have been proud enough of this bowl to include their acid backstamp showing the factory name, which they did on almost all of their glass at that time.
I notice you say that your benefactor comments  "Special Pieces that he made i believe he Signed S."   -   which sounds less than 100% convincing, possibly.

There are known instances of manufacturers incorporating a letter s on certain pieces of their glass   ........    the mark =s= can be found on some Stuart pieces when they were owned by Stonier of Liverpool, but I've a feeling that generally an S in some form or another has in the past indicated a seconds.                 Apparently it's often difficult to see why a piece should be relegated to that status. 

The design of this bowl, with the very noticeably graduated relief diamonds, does appear more of a C20 piece in its cutting, rather than something from Waterford, say 100 - 150 years earlier.
However, despite my comments your piece may well be from the Master, and would be great if it was.

If you do contact the museums, we'd be very interested to hear the outcome, and wish you the best of luck :)             

Offline chopin-liszt

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Re: Waterford Boat Bowl, 1969 - letter "S" etched on base
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2016, 01:15:45 PM »
The Ulster Museum in Belfast has a decent collection of Waterford.
It's shut on Saturday mornings. Not the easiest of places to get to when you're visiting the south from Scotland and want to fit a visit in on your journey.
But well worth a visit.
They have the most amazing collection of glass - from the old death by a thousand cuts stuff to fabulous colourful contemporary works.  ;)
Cheers, Sue (M)

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 Beware of them who find it."

Offline Anne

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Re: Waterford Boat Bowl, 1969 - letter "S" etched on base
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2016, 03:22:49 PM »
Hello and welcome to the board. Like Paul and Sue I've not found any mention of a large S on Waterford pieces wither. There is a How to Identify Waterford page on eBay which has a section about marks used, and mentions artists' marks as being quite small and hard to see, which doesn't tally with what you were told: Most Waterford marks are quite discreet and often hard to spot - certainly the one on my Waterford clock is. They are always on the bottom of the base as well in my experience.

Like Paul, I did wonder if the S was their way of indicating seconds, but there were none according to a TripAdvisor comment by someone who did the tour before Waterford closed, "Did you know there are no Waterford seconds? Any worker on the production line - at any time - can remove a piece of crystal because it doesn't meet the Waterford standards."

The other possibility is that the S mark relates to either a retailer (some did request special marks for items sold through their stores) but as it is on the top of the foot that seems unlikely, or that it was made for a particular location (e.g. a hotel) and thus marked.

So, more digging is needed for sure, and asking one of the museums with a collection might be worthwhile, as Sue suggested above.

Having said all of that, I'm unsure if your piece is actually Waterford, as it doesn't look good enough compared to the Waterford I have seen...   hope I'm wrong but...

Oh and can you tell us what size it is please? Dimensions always help - that way we know if we're dealing with small piece of tableware or a big standalone decorative piece. Ta!

Cheers! Anne, da tekniqual wizzerd
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Offline brucebanner

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Re: Waterford Boat Bowl, 1969 - letter "S" etched on base
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2016, 10:04:34 AM »
I have sold a fair few sets of glasses by Waterford  and some are not signed including a recent set of six whiskey glasses which I broke up as four were obvious seconds with bubbles, distortion and the odd seed, I bet they had a factory second shop.

So it must be a myth everything was signed, it would of meant hundreds of thousands of cut finished items were scrapped, it would not make financial sense.

I can not see so many pieces  being stolen and not passing the qc inspection.

I agree the signature is often very difficult to see, but after looking at hundreds of lead crystal pieces it is obvious to spot a second most of the time from a first.
Chris Parry


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